If you have ever been to a presentation skills workshop, you likely practiced with video. Whether you liked being video recorded or not, video can be a powerful tool for learning and improvement, if you use it correctly. Here, I want to give you some ideas for using that video for the maximum learning value. This will work best if the video is recent (and there is no reason with current technology that you can’t record any presentation you give for this learning purpose), but even if it is older, this advice will still help.
You can take any of this advice, but the more of it you use, the more valuable the exercise.
Here we go!
Watch the video almost like you are watching TV – just watch it. In other words, watch as if you were a participant, watching someone else and not looking at yourself. This will help you more closely see what others saw. After you have watched yourself in this way, capture your thoughts and observations in a notebook, journal, or computer file. Specifically, answer these questions:
- If I were a participant, what would be my overall reactions?
- How did this presentation make me feel about me and the topic?
- From a participant’s perspective, was my Most Desired Response met?
- What could I have done to better tailor my message and delivery to this specific audience?
- What were the 1-2 things I did best?
- If I were doing it again, what are the one or two things I would do differently?
Get Some Feedback
Feedback from others is a very important part of this process. If you have a close peer, significant other, or person you respect as a presenter/communicator, you could ask them to watch the video with you. Then, ask them to share their feedback with you. If you have more than one video, give busy people the best one to help you further polish your skills. You could sit with them as they watch, or send them the video and then have a conversation after they have watched. Let them share their thoughts and ask them questions like:
- What did you think?
- How would you have responded if you had been in my audience?
- How do you feel about my delivery, me, and my message?
- What did I do well?
- What do you see that I need to work on to be more effective?
- What surprised you about it? (Positively or negatively!)
- What would you suggest I work on in the future?
Make sure you take notes – preferably in the same place you took them after you watched yourself. And remember to thank people for their time, effort, and insights.
Take a Deeper Dive
I strongly suggest that you watch the videos at least once from your personal perspective. Watch with pen in hand to take notes, and perhaps poised to stop and rewind sections as you watch. This is the time to be honest with yourself – looking for weaknesses and improvement areas, of course, but also noticing what you did well (or improved if you are watching more than one). I suggest doing this after doing one or both of the above exercises, so you can have that audience perspective as a part of this exercise. That will make your internal feedback more effective, balanced and informed.
Continue to put your notes and observations in the same location so you are ready for my final suggestion . . .
Determine Your Next Steps
Those presentations are now over. But your opportunities to communicate, present, and persuade are boundless. Now is the time to take all of the insights and feedback received from the suggestions above and apply them to the next time. In the end, any and all of this effort is really about this step!
Review your notes and insights from the other exercises, and build your action plan for the next time you will present. These questions may help:
- Overall, what are my strengths to build on?
- What is my single biggest improvement need?
- What will I focus on the next time I present?
- How can I use these insights to prepare more effectively for my next presentation?
Doing all of this will take some time, but it will be an investment well worth it. Your future projects and audiences deserve your best. And so do you.
A Final Note
If you are looking for a structured way to become a more effective, persuasive, and confident presenter, we offer in-house, customized presentation skills workshops. as well as presentation and communication skills coaching. If you are interested, fill out the form here.